Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Grant Will Fund Math Academy
Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG - 09/03/2004 - Elementary mathematics teachers have a new opportunity to develop their understanding of mathematics and related teaching skills with the first three-week Summer Academy for Elementary Math Teachers in the summer of 2005.
Cooperative Effort Yields Results
The academy, a cooperative effort between University of Central Missouri, Southwest Missouri State University and six Missouri public elementary schools, is funded by an $800,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
National Science Foundation Provides Funding To States
Terry Goodman, professor of mathematics and computer science at UCM, explained that the funding originated with the National Science Foundation, which distributed funding to the states for use in the development of math and science partnerships to benefit public education.
“In Missouri, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education determined the federal grant funds would be used to support a statewide math program for elementary school teachers and a statewide science program for professional development for middle school teachers,” Goodman said. “It also was required that the program be a partnership with public schools.”
Goodman, along with Sue Sundberg, UCM professor of mathematics, joined Larry Campbell of the SMSU Department of Mathematics and representatives of six public schools to brainstorm. The result was the proposal for the academy that was submitted to the Missouri DESE and later accepted.
In addition to UCM and SMSU, elementary schools in the Warrensburg, Clinton, Independence, Springfield, Ozark school districts and the Greenwood Laboratory Elementary School at SMSU round out the partnership.
Teacher Teams To Be Selected
Goodman explained that each of the six school districts will select a “team” of teachers to attend the academy during the summer of 2005 at a soon-to-be-named location in the center of the state. The number attending, now set at 80 to 90, and the qualifications for team members intentionally have been defined in general terms.
“We believe our partner school districts can determine the makeup of their teams for this program better than we can,” Goodman said, adding that the number attending from each district can depend on the size of the school and the number of well-qualified teachers.
Master Teachers Will Mentor Teams
For three weeks the each team will work with designated master teachers who will serve as mentors. Goodman said the steering committee believes it will be most effective to have teachers being taught by other teachers with expertise to share, as well as higher education faculty members. The teams then will travel back to their schools to share what they have learned.
“We hope not only to enhance their content knowledge and teaching skills, but to develop leadership in these school districts when these team members return to school,” Goodman said.
Preservice Teachers Also Will Benefit
Also included in academy will be preservice teachers from UCM and SMSU, or students who are about to enter the field of teaching mathematics. The preservice teachers will be mentored by project master teachers and have opportunities to work with elementary students.
Number of Academies To Expand
During the second and third years, two summer academies will be conducted on the UCM and SMSU campuses, increasing the number of teams attending by opening the program to additional school districts in the state. There also will be possibility of recruiting another university into the partnership, allowing the academy to expand into another part of the state.
“By the end of the summer of 2007, we hope 300 elementary mathematics teachers will have passed through the academy and return to their schools as team members,” Goodman said. “We’re excited about the possibilities.”